Archives For music

If you walk into the Little Lambs preschool choir rehearsal at Saddleback Church on any given week, you’ll hear tiny but powerful voices singing out with all their might.

Lyrics like “You are good all the time, all the time you are good” echo through the worship center. It is so precious to hear the praise of Jesus on the lips of our young children.

I have the privilege of mentoring children in what it looks like to live a life of worship. We are teaching children to become lead worshippers in the various kingdoms God has placed them in – school, family, church – and all of the activities in between.

It is both an honor and a responsibility that we are given to invest in these children now and not 10 years from now. They are today’s leaders, but they are too often sidelined in their ministry until they become adults.

At Saddleback, we understand and believe that these early years are the most formative, and we recognize the opportunity that we have to inform the foundational building blocks that will help shape these young worshippers. We take them seriously and always remind them…

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Writing Songs

God labels us as his “masterpiece.” We have been intentionally created in the image of our Creator, and we are called to create.

For some of us, this creativity reveals itself through songwriting.

It is such a privilege to write with my teammates in Saddleback Worship.

We try to write songs for our congregation that support the vision and direction of our church while having open palms for what Jesus wants to say through lyric and melody. We place an emphasis on the sound of celebration, staying current and relevant, and remaining true to who we are in our writing.

But these songs aren’t always revealed neatly in the first few drafts — it takes time.

It takes wrestling with combinations of lyrics and melodies, writing and rewriting, sorting out differing opinions among team members, and above all spending plenty of time in prayer.

This journey is joy-filled and fun, but it is also taxing. No matter what stage of songwriting we’re in, we must remember why we do it.


Sometimes I learn a lot from conversations I was never intended to hear.

This happened once as I was stopping by my local community bookstore. It’s a small, quiet store, so it was impossible not to eavesdrop as I heard a young man tell his friend how much he hated Christmas. To be honest, the more he talked, the more I understood his point. This man wasn’t talking about the hustle and bustle of the holidays, or about the stresses of family meals or all the things people tend to complain about. What he hated was the music.

This guy started by lampooning one pop singer’s Christmas album, and I found myself smiling in agreement on how awful it is. But then he went on to say that he hated Christmas music across the board. That’s when I started to feel as though I might be in the presence of the Grinch. But then this man explained why he found the music so bad. It wasn’t just that it was cloying. It’s that it was boring.

“Christmas is boring because…

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A worship leader recently asked me for advice. He is trying to make some important improvements to his music ministry, including adding a choir and a new recruiting process. How would you answer these questions?

Q: I’m in the process of putting together some new systems for the Fall. One of them is a recruiting/audition system. I wanted to seek some advice and wisdom from you about that. Do you guys do formal auditions there? If so, what does the process look like? I know involvement in the band and vocals is also part of the leadership development system y’all use. And I’m thinking of loosely implementing some of that ideal into who serves where. But does everyone who wants to be involved have to go through some audition/interview process? If so, what does that look like? Any and all feedback is much appreciated.

A: We do not hold regular auditions at this time. Instead, we allow any one who wants to sing in our adult choir. After 3-6 months of singing faithfully in the choir, we may ask individuals to audition for our vocal team (as we have need). We want anyone on our…

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Stephen Moore“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3).

In this one simple verse, David has given us three distinct purposes of worship ministry. These purposes apply whether we’re in a church of 100, 1000, or 10,000. The purposes do not change. We may have different ways of reaching these purposes, but reach them we must. As worship pastors and leaders, we are tasked with leading our church’s worship ministry toward these three all-important goals. These 3 goals can be summed up in 3 simple words: Lord, leader and laity…

1. Lord. “Magnify the LORD.” Any worship ministry worth its salt will first and foremost seek to magnify the Lord to the best of its ability. Therefore, we must prioritize developing quality worship services week in and week out.

2. Leader. David said, “O magnify the Lord with me” (italics added). The second purpose of worship ministry is found in the word, “me.” “Me” represents those involved with the worship ministry, who are helping lead the times of praise during worship services. Any public appeal to magnify the Lord must include “me.” We can’t ask people to go where we’re…

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DirectionsAt some point in your life, you may have been as I was (and so many in our churches still are!). Anytime you heard the word worship, you assumed that word mostly referred to singing, clapping, and talking to God. Worship is actually much more than that: True biblical worship encompasses our entire lives. In fact, in his book The Ultimate Priority, John MacArthur Jr. explains that for our worship to be “whole-life” it must include three aspects or directions. Most certainly, we worship God when we focus directly on him, pointing our worship upward (as we normally think of worship). However, we should also worship God inwardly. The third direction we should worship him is outwardly, to those around us.1

Three Directions of Worship

You might think of three-directional worship like this: Imagine you say to your boss, “You are the greatest boss to ever walk the face of the earth. Furthermore, this is the best job I’ve ever had or ever will have. In fact, I practically worship at your feet for just letting me do this job every day.” (Am I laying it on thick enough yet?) OK, having said such…

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Assembly LineAt Valley View Church, our vision for the worship and creative arts ministry is to be a “sculpturing factory.” The analogy of a factory works especially well in the southwest area of Louisville, where our church is located. Many of our members work at the Ford plants or the major UPS hub nearby, so it’s easy for them to understand and relate to this simple word-picture of our vision.

Below are some particulars, which help explain our “factory” model of ministry:


We have 3 “products” (or goals) that our worship ministry aims to produce:

  1. Quality worship services (based on Psalm 33:3)
  2. Quality worshipers (based on Matthew 28:18)
  3. Quality worship leaders (based on 2 Timothy 2:2)

Chief Operator

The Lord, “the Author and Finisher of our faith,” is the Chief Operator who directs the sculpturing process. He determines the speed of the conveyor belts and the pace that each “product” is produced. (After all, they’re His worship services and His worshipers!)

Conveyor Belts

We have strategies in place, which act as “conveyor belts” moving everything along. These strategic processes rarely change. We believe they are biblical, logical and effective in any situation to produce the results…

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stones“One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” – Psalm 145:4

Music is vital to both Old Testament and New Testament worship. One cannot read through the book of Psalms, itself a hymnbook, without seeing the obvious emphasis on music both vocal and instrumental. While the New Testament is fairly quiet in regards to music in the corporate worship service, there are two mentions of its use. I think some will be surprised at the emphasis both of these citations make.

Both references to music in the New Testament Church are echoes of one another by the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians and the Colossians. In his letter to the Ephesians, in chapter 4, in a short section on “walking in love,” Paul ends by commanding that the church be “filled with the Spirit” (vv. 2,17). One of the ways this fullness of the Spirit is evidenced is that people are “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with heart” (v. 19). So, as a sign of our walking in love with one another, we are…

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Kayla BaileyGuest artist Kayla Bailey leading worship at Grace Hills Church.

What does it mean to worship “in the presence of God”? Sometimes we take our terminology for granted. After all, isn’t God always present everywhere? And in reaction to our feel-good, experience-driven culture, many church leaders conclude that we over-rate the importance of the weekend experience. Perhaps, but I err on the side of thinking that most people still haven’t experienced the fullness of God’s presence in a corporate worship experience.

Perhaps we’re afraid of what God will do if we yield ourselves fully to Him. Or perhaps we’re afraid of what other people will think of us when they see us getting swept up in the moment. Will they accuse us, at least secretly, of showing off? Of being too emotional? Funny how we don’t ask these kinds of questions from the stands while screaming for our football team while waving a giant foam finger.

So what then does it mean to experience God’s presence in a time of worship? I think one of the best explanations I’ve heard recently comes from Jeff Kennedy’s book, The Father, the Son,…

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Part 2 of the series: Building Strong Worshippers

Building Strong Worship LeadersFor the second time this week Joe felt like he had reached the end of his rope. 

As the Worship Pastor in a growing church, he constantly felt overwhelmed and under-prepared.  Regardless of how hard he worked, how early he came into the office, or how many items he crossed off of his list, it seemed he never really got it all done. “If I just had someone to help me,” Joe thought, “then maybe I could at least get a day off this week.” Somehow this wasn’t what he pictured when he felt called to ministry seven years ago.


Do you know a “Joe”?

Maybe not, but you do know Moses.  And Moses and Joe had a lot in common:  They had more than they could do, and no one to help.

This series on Building Strong Worship Leaders can help you move beyond the “one man show” to invest in and raise up leaders on your team.  This shift is about much more than just enlisting the help of a few others.  It’s a shift in mindset for you as the…

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questionmarkGreg Atkinson recently posted about how his campus is seeking a new Worship Pastor and he posted his list of possible discussion points for the world to read. We considered the list an extremely valuable starting place for a potential interview for any staff position. Here are his 79 questions:

  • What is your definition of worship?
  • Describe what worship looks like and why it’s more that music.
  • What does it mean to live a lifestyle of worship?
  • Do you have a theology of worship?
  • Do you have a personal mission statement?
  • Explain your call to ministry.
  • Explain your specific call to be a lead worshiper.
  • Have you studied at a Bible college or seminary? (this can be both good and bad – as far as seminary)
  • Do you have a good grasp of the Bible, theology and consider yourself to be of sound doctrine?
  • We are a Southern Baptist church with a non-denominational feel (we don’t use “Baptist” in our name and brand ourselves as Forest Park) – however, are you baptistic in your beliefs and in agreement with Baptist doctrine? (This is important to both me and our Senior Pastor)
  • Do you play an instrument? Do you lead from…

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